Rapid cultural shifts: Three Major Macro Trends

The New World Marketplace

By Farnaz Wallace

 Do you feel that?  It’s the ground moving beneath you.

 A rapid cultural shift has occurred over the last decade, but it’s not being addressed by businesses and leaders. For better or worse, the world of Mad Men is dead. In its place lives a world pulsing with a culturally diverse makeup of social models, relationships, businesses, and leaders.

Consider the following projections:

  • China will soon be the number one English speaking country in the world
  • The majority of the United States will soon be non-white
  • For every two men graduating from college, three women graduate, with better GPAs
  • 85% of all major buying decision are made by women
  • The videogame industry is now bigger than professional baseball

Now more than ever, leaders and companies must find ways to stay relevant in a world that is fundamentally different from the one being taught in textbooks.

Simply put, The New World Marketplace is where people and technology come together to define a “we” that is fundamentally different in terms of race, ethnicity, cultures, archetypes, genders roles and youth mindset.  It’s a place where rapid cultural shifts are creating long-term evolutionary changes.

It is not so much that the world is changing.  The world is always changing, and trends are always a part of the inevitable evolution of business.  It is the complexity and pace of these cultural shifts that has brought on the degree of change that is shaking up our society as we see it. And the path forward in to the next society is all about businesses and leaders managing the velocity of this transformation.

I break down these rapid cultural shifts into three major macro trends and forces:

  1. The shifting roles of women at home and at work
  2. The new values and ideological power of youth culture (Gen Y)
  3. The growth and influence of multicultural consumers and societies

In my book, The New World Marketplace, you will see the societal transformations clearly, and gain the tools that address them, both professionally and personally.  Your eyes will be opened to the possibilities for new social models, leadership, and of course business models that will succeed.These three macro trends—once considered small niches—are now major target markets, and businesses must communicate to them in order to stay relevant and successful. The combination of these three macro trends not only defines the way the world is today, but it has also shaped and created The New World Marketplace for businesses. Think of it this way:  The New World Marketplace is an uncharted sea into which three separate societal rivers converge.  These are the waters your business will have to navigate if you want to survive the next three to five years.

About Farnaz Wallace

Farnaz Wallace is the Founder & CEO of Farnaz Global, LLC, a boutique consulting firm focused on helping businesses and social leaders embrace and capitalize on rapid cultural macro trends.  A thought leader, speaker and consultant, she is the published author of the book, The New World Marketplace – how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future.  For more information, visit www.farnazglobal.com

Attracting Non-Solicited Referrals

I was touring a 5 unit rental property that a real estate investor associate of mine had just bought. We were in the basement and I noticed the electrical was still using fuses.

I said, “Mike, it looks like you’re in need of an update to the electrical. I have a high school friend, Larry, that’s an electrician and just updated one of my buildings. He did a fantastic job and is really easy to work with.”

I connected the two of them.

About a week later, I received, in the mail, a sincerely grateful, hand written Thank You card from Larry with two $5 gift certificates to a local burger joint.

I remember how acknowledged I was by this simple gesture. And, I made a promise to myself to refer a few more people to Larry. Not for more gift certificates, but because his genuine expression of gratitude created a desire to support.

Referrals are especially important because:

1). The low cost of lead acquisition

2). The higher % of conversion

3). They anchor and reinforce positive buying emotions with the customer making the referral and take the relationship to a new level of trust

4). They are a laser accurate measure of value and customer experience.

There are two types of referrals to aspire to attract and generate. Non-solicited and solicited. They each require different strategies and approaches.

LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT ATTRACTING NON-SOLICITED REFERRALS

To even get to the starting line in this New Economy, it seems a flawlessly executed customer experience that delivers exceptional value is a minimum requirement.

With this as a solid foundation, referrals become a natural extension.

“I will challenge you to focus on retention instead of acquisition to the point where retention becomes the new acquisition.” from Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe

For a well thought through and orchestrated process that will help you begin to develop a referral culture I recommend a great little book called, The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton.

Here’s a taste of the main Referral of a Lifetime principles:

Principle 1: The 250 by 250 Rule.

It’s not only who you know that counts, it’s who your clients know that is important.

Principle 2: Build a database and ABC it.

A’s = the people that are most likely to refer you. They are your advocates, your champions. On average 10-12% of the people you know.

B’s = people you think can champion your cause as well as refer you if you educate them about how you work. Account for 17-20% of people you know.

C’s = people you are not sure about but still want to keep communicating with.

D’s = delete or defer

Principle 3: Just Let Me Know.

Educate your clients about how you work and your value to them through regular, tangible actions performed without fail.

Principle 4: Keep In Touch: consistently, personally and systematically.

Be proactive in sending electronic and print communications to those you desire to build relationships with.

Keep in Touch Program: combination of personal newsletters, holiday cards, and items of value (unique, simple, and useful advice).

Web of Appreciation Program: series of good, better, best gifts to instantly show tangible evidence that we care.

P. S. The Referral of a Lifetime is told in parable style; at 130 pages I was able to read it on a Saturday. Even though it is presented in a simple fashion; this is a system that has sophistication. One of my favorite strategies, and this definitely is a REFERRAL 303 strategy, is to identify your top referral sources and to then focus additional activities on this group! In Chapter Four on Principle 2 you get a process for this.

How to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing

If haven’t already…after reading this post you should start to notice them all over.

Those little black and white checkered squares.

WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Technically, they’re a 2-dimension bar code, commonly referred to as QR Codes. The QR stands for “Quick Response”, and they’re quickly gaining popularity in marketing as mobile plays a bigger role in our day-to-day use of the Internet.

In fact, a study by comScore, a firm which tracks online activity, indicated that approximately 15 million people scanned QR codes in June. What’s interesting is their profile: 18-34 year-olds with household incomes of $100,000 or more.

It’s (surprisingly) easy and fast (like seconds) to create a QR Code for your business — just use a QR code creator online.   In that code, you can store a website URL, a telephone number, contact details (VCARD), an event (VEVENT), Google Maps Locations, download for a mobile app, coupons, and more.

You can then print the image on nearly any surface: promotional items, product packaging, clothing labels…really the possibilities seem to be endless.

By using a free code reader app on a smartphone, anyone can scan a QR Code and access the content you stored there.

Now your customer or prospect has access to your information from anywhere they are! Instant gratification!

The novelty of this new technology provides a compelling call to action – the curiosity and the fun of using a new app (toy).

Here are the TOP 5 promotional marketing uses of QR Codes I’ve personally noticed in the 2 weeks prior to this post:

  • In a high traffic pedestrian area, a bar/restaurant posted a large QR Code in the window with the simple headline: Scan this code for a special offer for dining in Shar (Restaurant).
  • For the SXSW (South by Southwest) Music + Film Interactive Festival in Austin, nonprofit marketer Annie Lynsen included a QR Code to her website on a business card she had designed and printed specifically for networking at this event.
  • On a back-to-school, oversized postcard, retailer Bed Bath & Beyond drives traffic to their website by including a QR Code to a College Checklist
  • As part of a membership renewal mailer, Bally Total Fitness included a QR Code with the headline, “Scan For Your Special Member Coupon!” at the top of the letter. The coupon was for a one year subscription to Men’s Journal magazine for renewing — A $9.97 incentive to generate a sale of $120.00.
  • The Greenbuild Expo included a QR Code on the address panel of the self-mailer conference information packet they send to prospective attendees. The scanned code takes you to a short promotional video that captures the excitement of the event. Their headline, “Join Us In Toronto To See What’s Next!: Scan This Code To Experience The Excitement”

    The most unique application I’ve come across so far was from an article in The Seattle Times headlined, “’Living headstones’ use technology to honor dead”. A monument maker offers “living headstones” where the QR Code provides an online link to the person’s life history.

    Here are additional resources on QR Codes that you will find valuable:

    Top 14 Things Marketers Need to Know About QR Codes

    50 Creative Uses of QR Codes

    The Kodak Pitch in Mad Men’s Season 1 is a masterful example

    The Kodak Pitch scene in Mad Men demonstrates the power of the right message for the right market.

    One of the reasons I love this business is because of the challenge it presents to communicate effectively.

    To be effective, you must first understand your market.Then, you have to know the benefit(s) of the product or service you are selling.

    Getting to both of these is a lot harder than you’d think.

    The challenge is then how best to communicate these benefits in a way that appeals emotionally to the market you are targeting, a message to market match.

    When it all comes together, there’s magic.The Kodak Pitch in Mad Men’s Season 1 is a masterful example.

    MAD MEN, Season 1, Disc 4, 38:07 minutes into Episode 13, The Wheel.

    THE KODAK PITCH – Don Draper, the hottest creative director on 1960’s Madison Avenue, has been challenged to “put Kodak’s projection Wheel in the future”. The scene is Don’s pitch to the executives from Kodak: Technology vs. Nostalgia. Which doyou think will make the best message to market match?

    —————————————————————————-
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    MAD MEN, SEASON 4  –  PREMIER MONTH SPECIAL

    AMC has announced Season 4 of Mad Men will premier on July 25th, and to celebrate the return of the best advertising show on television, PPS is giving you an opportunity to get all the previous seasons.

    For every order over $400.00 ($30 value) you will receive the DVD set of Mad Men Season1.                                                                                                                                                                                         For every order over $750.00 ($55 value) you will receive the DVD set of Mad Men Seasons          1AND2.                                                                                                                                                                                       For every order over $1000.00 ($75 value) you will receive the DVD set of all three seasons of Mad Men.

    Offer Ends 8-15-10.

    The Bingo Card Method

    Just got this email from a customer:

    “There are so many options out there. How do I determine the best promotion for my business?”

    -Suzy
    Dear Suzy,

    I like to break these options into two general categories.Category One: Current customer promotions Category Two: New customer acquisition promotions

    The best place to start is in Category One for these 3 reasons:

    In making a decision to purchase, a prospect has to overcome their objections about you, your company, and your products/services.
    Your current customers have already done this work.

    Your current customers are much more likely to respond to your offer and purchase from you than a cold prospect will be.

    More drops to your bottom line. A sale to a current customer is more profitable because your costs to acquire the business are lower.

    To identify specific opportunities I recommend creating a “Bingo Card”.

    In a spreadsheet (or on a sheet of paper), list your customers down the A column. Across the top row list your products or services – 1 per column.

    To fill this in may require a little research.

    You want go across the row of each customer and put an “X” in the cell if they are using the product or service at the top of that column.

    Just start left and go to the right across each column for each customer.

    Where the cell is blank, you have identified a specific opportunity for each customer!

    Look at the product or service that has the most blank cells. This is the place to start to create a promotion by developing an offer targeted at your current customers.

    Download the file

    To kiss a girl leaning away from you

    Zig Ziglar, the preeminent motivational speaker of the 80’s and 90’s used to say the 3 hardest things in life are:

    1. to climb a fence leaning towards you
    2. to kiss a girl leaning away from you, and
    3. to try to change someone who doesn’t want to change.

    I’m going to add a Number 4: to acquire a new customer.

    Why do customers migrate away from our business? Studies show:

    1% die

    3% move away

    5% follow a friend or relative’s advice and switch to that friend’s preferred supplier

    9% switch due to price or a better product

    14% switch due to product or service dissatisfaction

    68% switch because of what they perceive and describe as indifference from the supplier or someone in the supplier’s organization.

    They felt UNAPPRECIATED, UNIMPORTANT, and TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

    Let’s say the first 32% is out of your immediate control to impact (although I would debate this with you on a few of those percentages).

    That means, in close to 70% of the situations you are driving the bus!

    Here are my best Customer Retention ideas

    •    Measure it. What gets measured gets managed
    •    A given: give great service
    •    Communicate – have a plan, use different media
    •    Show appreciation – birthday, company anniversary, holiday gift, gift on your company’s anniversary
    •    Love gifts – gifts for no reason
    •    Have a superior Service Recovery system in place (see messages 19 & 20 in this series)

    Remember: your best customers are your competition’s best prospects.

    You never forget your first…

    I started my career in sales about a month after my 18th birthday, selling promotional items for my father’s company. My dad did not want me to go into sales at such a green age; however I was determined to prove to him that I could do it.

    My first Sales Manager was a guy by the name of Jerry Tranchita. A long time veteran of the industry, Jerry had spent a lot of time out in the trenches. For my initial sales training he sat me down in his office, gave me two different sample kits, and directed me to go door-to-door on this two block stretch of road that was home to a dozen car dealerships. “All you have to do is ask them what they are currently buying and after they tell you, show them the samples in your kit” he told me.

    I was so naïve I just said, “okay” and we set the big date for my debut. My only suit, the one I had purchased for my senior homecoming dance. It was a tan corduroy 3 piece with a reversible vest. This was 1978, the height of disco, and the shoes I had to match this fierce ensemble were the platforms I’d wear out dancing.

    So I show up on the appointed day, sometime in the middle of August in my corduroy suit with my sample kits in tow and I head out to the gauntlet.

    How’s this for dumb luck. I met my favorite (and first) customer on my first day of sales. John Clark was the Sales Manager at Joe Carini Lincoln Mercury in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He was balding, had glasses, and his sport coats were always a size or two too large. I don’t know why, but for some reason he gave me a shot. Could’ve been pity, could’ve been I reminded him of someone or himself at 18. Either way I came back to the office with a nice project that eventually resulted in my first order.

    They say you never forget your first one…and I will always be grateful for John Clark.

    6 Steps to Rock Star Service Recovery

    To me, there is no greater challenge and no greater reward than turning an upset customer back into a raving fan.

    During the sales and conversion process, you (or your company) create certain expectations with your customer. When those expectations aren’t met due to a breakdown in service, customers will be upset.

    Before I give you the steps, I want to share the mindset of our company when we face an upset customer who has experienced a breakdown in service:

    First of all, take responsibility for the breakdown and give up any adversarial position. The more you take responsibility, the more effective your recovery.

    Second, authentically and genuinely want to save the relationship.

    Third, bring a sense of urgency to the interaction.

    MY STEPS TO ROCK STAR SERVICE RECOVERY
    1. Apologize.
    2. Listen and empathize.
    3. Personally fix the problem quickly and fairly.
    4. Offer atonement.
    5. Keep your promises.
    6. Follow up.

    My favorite tool is to Offer Atonement. It is most often unexpected, and, when received, usually results in delight. I like to send an apology letter and a gift. The best gift I ever used was a teddy bear wearing a t-shirt imprinted with my logo and the words “We Care”.

    HERE’S THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE!

    Going through adversity together deepens the level of trust in the relationship.

    Think about this from the “recovered” customer’s point of view. They have an option between you and a competitor. They have never had a breakdown with the competitor. You, on the other hand, are a known entity — the customer knows what to expect if something goes wrong.

    I like your odds best in this scenario!

    How to use adversity to deepen trust in relationships

    Around 1986 I heard an interview with Lane Nemeth.

    At the time she was founder and CEO of Discovery Toys. A former director of a state run daycare center, Lane took educational toys that weren’t available to parents and sold them through a “Tupperware” party distribution model.

    During the interview she related the following about how IBM handled the breakdown of a systems installation for her company:

    “They moved in with their mattresses. I don’t know what you do to get people like this. But it’s just been lucky. They spent their whole 3 months living here. They got an outside team to work with them. And we converted the entire place and we were up and running by September…”

    When I heard this, I decided that was the type of experience I wanted to provide to my customers when there was a service breakdown: The world stops, our team parachutes in and saves the day, then the sun comes out as inspirational music comes up in the background.

    Hey – you want to have something to shoot for!

    Over the years I have mastered what has become known as service recovery. The word recovery means to return to normal – to get things back in balance or good health.

    In business, this is getting the relationship with the customer back to normal, in balance, in good health. In my business, every project is custom. Anyone can take a project and have it go well. The key to building trust in the relationship is demonstrating to your customer the lengths you are willing to go to make sure they win when there is a problem.

    Funny thing is…I have found that going through adversity together deepens the level of trust in the relationship.

    Tomorrow I will share with you the Steps to Rock Star Service Recovery.

    Always demand a return

    One of the things I love the most about promotional marketing is that, used properly, it always generates a specific measurable result. That result, when expressed in dollars and cents and compared against the cost of the promotion will give you a Return On Investment (ROI).

    The focus of this message:
    Always demand a Return On Investment (ROI) from your promotions.

    If you put together your own promotions demand it of yourself. If you outsource this to an agency or consultant demand it from them.

    The economy has caused every budget line item to undergo scrutiny. This is a good thing!

    I was reviewing the financials of a company that I am on the Board of and I noticed that over a 3-year period their marketing budget had risen by a significant amount and that their sales during the same period had remained flat.

    When we actually did an ROI analysis of this company’s marketing initiatives, we found that most were losing money. One example: they spent $20,000 on a tradeshow that only generated $11,000 in sales.

    What happens if you don’t measure ROI?

    From the example above it is obvious that money is wasted.

    The more insidious outcome is that decisions are made in a vacuum. Before we dug into the tradeshow mentioned above, the company’s COO told me he thought the tradeshows were a huge success.

    Let the fun begin!

    Measuring ROI transitions your marketing dollar from an expense to an investment. At worst your promotions can be a cost center. Ideally you will want each promotion to be its own profit center.

    How to start

    Go back and review your last year’s expenditures on advertising, marketing, and promotions. What revenues/profits did each generate? What did it each cost?

    Contact me if you want to talk this through further. It’s one of my favorite topics!